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September 24, 2019

Telecommunications, Electromagnetic Fields, and Human Health


Recent news items revealed concerns about Electomagnetic Fields [EMFs], most recently from 5G antenna networks that are speeding up internet service in communities.  Below is the Abstract of an article prepared by Dr. Robert Michaels [bam@ramtrac.com], that was published in the Electromagnetic Claims Journal.

Abstract

Telecommunication generates electromagnetic fields (EMFs) at radio and microwave frequencies.  Transmitters have proliferated with siting of wireless communication networks, often co-located among other transmitters.  ‘Cell’ phones also have proliferated, representing small transmitters used in contact with human heads, and stored on human bodies.  Telecommunications equipment is ubiquitous, and EMF exposure prolonged, raising the issue of possible health risks.  Such risks, if any, must be managed.  For example, epidemiology studies reported higher exposure to analog cell phone EMFs among brain cancer patients than among controls, but those risks were ‘managed’ via replacement of analog phones with today’s digital phones, which have not been associated with human cancer.  

Challenges remain, recently from rodent bioassays that show dose-related association of lifetime exposure to cell-phone-type EMFs with heart schwannomas (cancers of schwann cells, which insulate nerve cells) in male rats, though not females.  Human cancer risk, if any, remains to be characterized and quantified, which partly will depend upon whether EMFs indeed are non-ionizing as has been assumed, and whether a threshold or non-threshold (genotoxic) mechanism caused the cancers in the male rats.  Health concerns have motivated further exposure reduction suggestions, and sometimes opposition to siting transmitters.  

Credible, objective explication of technical information to primarily non-technical audiences is necessary to support informed public participation and dispassionate weighing of telecommunications risks and benefits in community decision-making.  

Ultimately, experts and non-experts should adhere to the ‘precautionary principle’, requiring adoption of reasonably (but not excessively) pessimistic exposure and risk assumptions, whether or not they are likely to materialize.

The full text of article can be downloaded at no charge from ResearchGate.net via the following URL:

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